tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC January 19, 2013 7:00am-9:00am PST
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good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. this morning, we are live in washington, d.c. as preparations are under way for the second inauguration of president barack obama. and while the public ceremony and celebration will take place on monday, the official swearing in as mandated by the constitution will occur tomorrow morning. chief justice john roberts will swear in the president in a brief ceremony at the white house just before noon and msnbc will bring it to you live tomorrow. president obama will retake the oath with a 52% approval rating according to the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. after the last inauguration, the economy is not if a freefall, and universal health care is not a political platform, and the united states is not bogged down
in multiple international wars, and the girls have a dog. look, president obama is go gin to enter his new term with with a new ad jen da already under a bright spotlight, and at the top of the list, immigration reform and gun control policy. for the first time 52% of americans favor allowing undocumented immigrants with jobs to apply for legal status. 56% of americans believe that stricter laws should govern the sale of firearms. the wind of public opinion, so to speak, would appear to be at the president's back, but right in front of him remains something very different from when he entered office four years ago, a republican-controlled house. initially elected with an outsidef of the beltway appeal, the president is now by definition a washington insider and for anything to get done in his second term, he is going to have to play an insider's game. joining me now is one of the most important allies that the president has on the hill.
since 1993, he has represented the sixth district of south carolina in the house of representatives where he is now the third highest ranking democrat. congressman james clyburn. it is so lovely to have you here. >> thank you so much for having me. >> i want to talk to you about guns and immigration, but before i get there, i want to talk to you about what happened with the republicans in the house who seem to have done a little mini cave on the debt ceiling, and it looks like they are going to be willing to extend the debt ceiling for three months with which is the cover of the new york times this morning, and what is that about? what is happening? >> well, it seems they are trying to line up their opposition to the president, this debt ceiling trying to line it up with two other big economic situations that we are going to be faced, that is to continue resolution that we common call the c.r. to keep the government running which expires the first of march. and then of course, we have the
so-called, i don't know what to call it, but it is not the cliff, but it is not what i would call it. >> the curb. >> yes, the curb beginning to kick in, and we need to work with that and i think that they are trying to line it up to camouflage whatever they may do, which i think will be to vote to let the debt ceiling go up. >> okay. so i should not see this as we say in the black church, a "come to jesus" moment, but in washington they say we are outmanned on this, so we will have to give the president his way, because the wind of public opinion is at his back, and inste instead, just lining up additional opposition. >> that is the way i see it, and i could be wrong, but i don't think that i am. >> i suspect you aren't. well, let me ask you about that, because one of the things that the president has said about you is that you are one of the few members of the house of representatives that when you speak, regardless of the partisan identification and
geography, people listen to what you have to say. is that still true in this deeply divided house? >> well, i would say i agree with the president that they hear what i say, and i'm not too sure they always listen. the house is very divided. i don't think it is divided so much as partisan lines as they are along ideological lines. there are a lot of republicans that i talk to who would love to see some movement on a lot of the issues. it is just that the way the electorate is now defined it as redistricting has made it very, very uncomfortable for them to defy the tea party movement, because of what could very well happen to them in their congressional districts when it comes to the primaries. so i think that the will is there for something to get done. we have just got the figure out the way. as i often say to the president, i think that the will is there,
but we have to figure out the way. >> and it is interesting to hear you say that the will is there, because for those of us who are not d.c. beltway insider, it feels as though the partisanship is the key issue, but it is really ideology, and a small proportion of the republicans who are holding hostage the whole party then take for exampleple immigration reform, and is this a place where reasonable members of the republican party can finally marginalize those id logs and get something done on the immigration? >> well, i think so. it would have been done a long time ago if a few senators and one of my home state sep or t s had not walked away from the deal we had going. and get to the senate and get something done and i thought that the house would come along. at that time the democrats held the majority in the house at that time. you recall the two or three senators we thought were there, and wa and walked away from the so-called comprehensive immigration fix that we had in
place, and hopefully come back, because i believe if this election did anything, it helped to define what you have shown on the screen here that a ma jojor of the americans would love to see us get immigration settled and people out of the shadows and get them on to the tax rolls and hopefully the voting rolls as well. >> the tax rolls piece is important here. the president is beginning to talk about the possibility of entitlement reform. that entitlement reform is on the table. is there a progressive way to do entitlement reform? is there something that the democr democrats should give on this, or ought we be holding the line on these issues? >> well, there is a lot we can do. take medicare for instance. i think that medicare has a way to be fixed. i met this past or two days ago with representatives from the aarp. i have looked at senator
beckett's from alaska, a proposal he has put forth for the fixed social security. i really believe that there is a lot that can be done. we just have to sit down and do it in a comprehensive way. i don't think that you should do these things piecemeal. social security has nothing to do with the deficit, and it ought to be dealt with as a separate issue, but it has a lot to do with settling issues in the economy, because social security is a wedge issue if you don't get it fixed. so, let's fix social security and keep it where it ought to be walled off from everything else, and then take a hard look at how the tackle the things when it comes to the medicare and medicaid. >> so there's a sense of unlinking it from the sort of time-pressed issues that are about the debt ceiling and that sort of thing, because this is not really on that topic. >> it is not on that at all and we should de-link it in all of the discussions, and i do belief
that the atmosphere is there for us to do so. >> congressman clyburn, i so appreciate your taking the time and it is nice to be in washington to speak with you. >> thank you so much for being with us. you are bringing a little sunlight. i want to tell your viewers what i saw out here before i got on here. >> the dancing that i do before the show. it does happen. up next, the insiders' guide to the gun debate. you heard of behind the scenes of nerdland, but there is behind the scenes on the big political issues of the day, and i want to ask about those when we come back. stress sweat. it's different than ordinary sweat. it smells worse, and it can happen any time -- to anyone! like when i ran to catch the train to work and a draft blew my skirt up and everybody here saw my unmentionables. yeah, and they aren't even cute. hello, laundry day. no...
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everyone knows the term inside baseball, but did you ever wonder where the saying comes from? there is literally a baseball term. in fact, it was a strategy developed with by the 19th century baltimore orioles which relied not op bn big hits or ho runs, but the minutia of small ball and keeping it inside of the field, and incrementally building up the score through bunt bunts and small hits. it is a baseball player's baseball game. it is not just sports where knowing the inside game can make all of the difference. let me take you to the original nerdland, the academy, where inside fights rarely make the news, but sometimes the topics pack enough political heat to make professors into headliners. take this scandal n. 2000, a remarkable piece of academic work was published by the then
much respected emory university professor michael ballil and in the book, he used hundreds of old documents to show that gun ownership was uncommon in the 18th century and he went on the say that given the rarity of the gun ownership, there is no way that the founding fathers intended for the second amendment to be gun rights. it was when data did not prove the point. u except that it was not true. in an epic takedown a year later, a law professor james lengren went through the footnotes and found that some of the information was resigned. and ballil ended up resigning from his job and stripped of the book. the case he hoped to make for
banning gun control bolstered the nra. so it is the minutia of the footnotes and the insider turned the discourse on guns in america. so in the heat of the debate, everyone has an opinion, but not everyone knows the inside game. i want to know what are the political footnotes that we should be checking if we want to get the are real scoop on what is happening in d.c., so let's play some small ball with folks who know the inside of washington, d.c. with me is marian wright edelman, founder and president of the children's defense fund and also mayor mark klinechman who is author of "against guns. ooh" and also, a parent whose daughter was shot and injured in the mass shooting in va tech in 1997 in which 32 people were murdered. and amy walter who is senior editor of the "cook report."
thank you all for being here. amy, i want to thastart with yo because the biggest part of being a inside is knowing what questions you should ask, so as gun control, what should we be asking? >> well, as washington insider with retalk about the policy and the prescriptions and the actual policy that a lot of folks would like to see happen or prevent from happening on guns. at the same time what's missing in this discussion is the cultural issues here which i think that we forget about in washington that when we talk about gun ownership here and in nerdland, we talk about specific policies, but think that for a lot of people, what gun ownership is not about how many bullets you can buy or what kinds of guns you can own, but it is about a way of life, and there are a whole bunch of people in the country who hear the debate in washington, and say, but, wait a minute, i
own -- and i'm not that person. i'm not a bad person and i don't know anybody in my community that would do anything like happened in virginia tech or newtown, so why are we being punished by people in washington or big city mayors who come from a different place than we do. >> mark, it is interesting, because i want to ask you about that, having grown up in have and gone the grad school in north carolina and now living in louisiana, i get the gun culture. i'm a southerner, and i get gun culture, and yet, here you are the mayor of chapel hill and not detroit and not chicago and not even new orleans where we think of this gun violence issue as central, and yet, you are saying this matters to us in the south in a relatively safe community, and yet guns matter to you as a mayor. >> absolutely. arguably the most important job that a major has is to protect the health and the wealth and
the safety of the citizens. five or six weeks ago, i am sure that the mayor of newtown would have said to anyone, this is the last place in america that a tragedy like that could have occurred, and we said that about ourselves in chapel hill. a decade and a half ago has pass ed since we had a mentally ill man walk down franklin street shooting and killing people. the last place in america is our town. it is everyone's hometown. the scourge of gun violence certainly affects the cities that you have mentioned and the mayors are responding, i believe, very bravely and strongly, but it is our town, too. there isn't a place that is relatively safe or immune from the scourge of gun violence. >> that piece about newtown being the place where things like this just don't happen, but virginia tech was the sort of thing where things like this does not happen. you send your child off to college and you do what your job is as a parent, you have gotten them off to a great school, and then, then this moment.
does your testimony or your narrative as a parent of a survivor of this kind of shooting help to shift who we think of as the players will in the table and the insiders who need to be there? >> i certainly hope so. the reality is that there are far too many families who are affected by gun violence. when you have 30,000 deaths annually and 100,000 people shot annually and think of the numbers of families that is affecting, negatively and horribly and tragically in so h many instances whether it is a driveby shooting against a child in an apartment in chicago or a first grader in newtown or my daughter getting shot twice in the back of the head in a french class at virginia tech. this knows no boundaries, and it affects everybody in america,
and it is time for us who have been affected to speak up. we have relevance and a place at the table and frankly public safety matters to everyone. it is our children. it is our families. it is our neighborhoods. it is our communities regardless of what they are and what they look like. >> mrs. edelman, i have to say that one of the most stunning facts to me post-newtown has p been t -- has been the number of background checks which are indicative of the people who are seeking new guns and we saw something like 2.2 million, and uptick of almost 60%, 58.2% from december of 2011 of background checks and so apparently a lot of people getting guns for christmas. what does that number tell you? >> well, who are those people? but they believe there is going to be gun safety control issue, and they want to make sure they stock up in advance. so i choose to say good news if
they fear that perhaps this is different and perhaps there really are going to be some significant reforms, and i hope that is true, but on the other hand, there is great fear out there that a gun makes you safer, but the evidence is that if you keep a gun in your home, it is much more likely the make you less safe because of suicide, because guns lethalize danger and then if you get angry, and if you didn't have a gun, you might have harm and injury, but not lethal. and you saw the attack by the p earn in china with a knife, but nup of the people died. one of the things that we have to begin to do is to talk about whether in fact that guns do, as the evidence shows, make us less safe and secondly as a mother and grandmother and all of us need to understand this not just you are keeping a gun in your own house for your own
self-protection, but you to be careful where your children and grandchildren play, and you have to be dealing with the deeper gun violence, because it is pervasive and we have to breakthrough. aurora and other shootings like columbine and we go back to life as usual, but not after this one, because it is a different feeling. >> and in fact, we are going to talk to local officials making a lead on this, and i want to listen to what the president had to say about this issue of all of those who have died since newtown. >> in the month since 20 precious children and 6 brave adults were taken to us in sandy hook, more than 900 of our fellow americans have died at the hand of the end of a gun. if there is even one thing that can be done to end this violence and even one life to be saved,
yes, we have had tragedies and yes, we have had too many innocent people lose their life and yes, it is unfortunate that it took those tragedies to get us to this point, but let's at least learn from what has happened. >> that was new york governor andrew cuomo signing the first gun control legislation in the wake of the sandy hook elementary school mass shooting. the new laws would expand the state's ban on assault weapons and it is the toughest the country has seen and while many are looking to the white house and capitol hill to make sweeping legislation, but perhaps swifter action is more likely to come at the local level, so mayor, i want to ask you that. while it looks like washington is doing whatever it is doing on the inside game, the localities are moving ahead in the ways they have to. >> yes, for many of us though, we are handcuffed. for so long gun control and gun regulation has been taken as a
federal issue, and i'm very excited about new york's passage of reforms, but even states have been aloathe to engage in the issue, and state legislators and i have been getting tons of e-mails just for speaking on the issue and threats that i will lose my office, and i say, bring it on in chapel hill. but, so, a lot of it in locally is about culture change, but making sure that we have a conversations in our public squares and arenas that we are educating each other about what is effective. like background checks. we know they are effective. if we are talking about how important they are, and if we can create a community aware, around these alternatives whether it is internet sales or gun show sales, and if we make them less likely to be be options for people to purchase, and if we create an environment where you are not going to have a gun show in our community, that is really all we are
allowed to do. >> and let me make a push, because that seems right to many, but my concern about the prohibition areas, in the all-out ban, and also leading for the supreme court to have a stronger position on the second amendment, you get into an 18th amendment prohibition problem and the handguns are easily that people have them and easily hidden and creates a black market for them, so i love the language of the culture change, because that is what we did for cigarettes. we made it harder to smoke in public and sued the companies to pay to educate people against their own product. is that a possibility here? >> yes, i believe so. in virginia, i don't talk to a single person or audience frankly that does not understand the issue of a background check. when we vol unteer with our children at school or in church activities, we all have to undergo a background check. when you get a puppy at the
pound, you have to get a background check and virtually a home study to get a puppy. the world in which i live and work and play does understand the notion of a background check and it and it is a simple thing, and in virginia the average is two minutes. i talked to gun owners in all walks of life and i have a uncle with a farm out in empress county and what is the big deal? we will get a background check. we have been able to move it a little bit in virginia. >> well, virginia is interesting to me, because we saw a state legislature on the floor brandishing an ak-47 while debating gun control and that image coming out of virginia and at the same time a state delegate who went in to ur p ch -- went in to purchase a gun at a gun show with a hidden camera to show you how to get around the loophole. >> well, we have been able to move some of the issues in virginia and we got a bill out of the senate committee much to the chagrin of the nra and the
top lobbyist chuck cunningham was in the building and we got it out of the hearing. we flipped two people, and he was sprouting around to make sure it doesn't go anywhere monday, but we are capable to move this issue, and americans are with us poll after poll and i think that we will get something done. >> i want to get your last word on this part, what should localities be doing? >> well, there is another thing that mayors around the country are committing to do which is to get back to discover where the ammunition purchases are coming from and our guns are coming from, because one of the largest purchasers of ammunition and p weapons is the municipalities and we have the leverage over those manufactures, and we haven't used that power.
my set z my citizens are purchasing weapons and then using it gai against in lobbying for gun control. >> and fuelling that helps to the situation. mary edelman and amy will be back with us, but in the meantime, we have congressman anthony becerra on the politics of gun control. we will be right back. [ sniffs ] [ sneezes ] [ sniffles ] [ female announcer ] for everything your face has to face. face it with puffs facial tissues. puffs has air-fluffed pillows for 40% more cushiony thickness. face every day with puffs softness.
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brother were justen by immigration and it needs to stop. we need to stop separating families, and this is real. this is so real. >> last week erica posted the video the youtube. that video told the world about the detainment of her mother and brother in arizona. she is already an immigration rights leader and co-founder of the state's dream act, and erica knew how to mobilize en masse, and officials were inundated with calls and pleas for the release of her family, and by the next morning her mother and brother were able to go home. she is accustomed to working the system from the outside, but now she is inside after joining the staff of newly seated congresswoman kirsten cinema, and as she pointed out herself, erica is only one of thousands of people wo have fho have face threat of thousands of people whose family has been threatened
to be torn apart. while president obama has tried to ease the families going through the immigration proceedings, far immigration reform has yet to come to fruition. my next guest will have a hand in shaping what that reform may look like, and javier becerra is the chair of the house democratic caucus and the house hispanic caucus. that appeal is so moving, but i wonder on the inside of washington and moving people seeing it on youtube, but does it move lawmakers? >> well, i think for some of us who are children of immigrants and go home to see the families all of the time, absolutely it do does. some members, i suspect they want to continue with this deport everyone policy. we are going to get there, but set no longer if we will have immigration reform, but it is when, and i believe it is this year. i believe it is because there is
the bipartisan will to get it done. >> americans are behind some form of reasonable immigration reform. you have the public opinion poll demonstrating that even for those who are in the country illegally, there is a great deal of favoring of amnesty and 52% favoring amnesty for the undocumented immigrants who are employed. this recognition of how important that labor, that work and those contributions are. do we build on the 52%? >> melissa, if the word amnesty is not used because nobody is talking about amnesty, the s support goes way beyond 50%, but it is 70% or 80%, because americans want a solution. they know our immigration system is broken, and they are ready to see something happen. the people are a away ahead of the politicians on this one, way ahead. and most people will tell you because these immigrant american, because that is what they are, they are americans who are immigrants, they are part of the aspiring class, and they are
the next generation to create those leaders, and those innovas or the and we will get there, but it is the neanderthal element in congress that continues to hold us back, but we will get there. >> and there was another moment that we will be talking about over the next few days that was similar of a social movement of people impacted by unfair policies that had an unfair reaction on their circumstances and they pushed an american president lbj to bring civil rights legislation. is that what we are seeing here? >> in many respects. one of the many proud moments is when every single after can american representative voted with the hispanic caucus to push forward the dream act. when the african-american members of congress and the latino members of congress are working hand in hand in immigration reform, because it is not just mexican immigrant,
but haitian immigrants and african-american immigrant, and we are going to get there. it is one of the issues if you have a tough, smart, and fair proposal, every american will say that is the way to go. >> i want to look at marco rubio's proposal, because he would define his proposal as such. let's listen to mr. rubio for a moment. >> i have been tough on this issue, and border security, but it is getting better. the stats show it is getting better, and i think that they have a handle on it now, and i think that your program is fair, and so i want you and president obama to get on the phone and get this thing before it turns into a bloody mess. >> well, that is marco rubio talking, but who we saw speaking there is bill o'reilly, and let's move forward. sop apparently bill o'reilly and myself can sit together and get it done. is there going to be bipartisan support to get this issue through? >> yes.
and remember the last time the voices in the tv world and the radio world were far right and you have to kill it. and now folks say, you have to get it done. and the u.s. chamber of commerce is working with labor to make it happen. we are going to make it happen, and marco rubio is talking about things that we have been talking about over 10 years, and the republicans are coming forward to say what americans have been saying. the average american says to make it practical, and make it sensible and make it tough, but make it fair. >> do you any that the white house learned to listen on this, because it seemed that a lot of shift happened when the president took the executive step for the baby dream act and deferred action and said, well, i do have some power here and i will exercise it. >> yes, melissa, you are right, because it crit tallized and the president tried and tried and tried and the congress put obstacles up. and said don't do it, it is a political year, but he wanted to do it. the public by 2/3 said, yeah, makes sense.
it empowered him to believe that the public is ready to help us push congress to get it done. >> thank you for joining us. it is so much fun to be in d.c., because i get to see the sitting members of congress. i appreciate it. up next, the democratic leader who could stand in the way of the assault weapons ban. i have a letter, and it is to senator harry reid. ♪ baby here i am signed sealed delivered i'm yours ♪ i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. [ male announcer ] shift the balance of power decisively in your favor. the exclusive 8-speed transmission and rotary shifter in the 2013 ram 1500. engineered to move heaven and earth.
maybe you want to incorporate a business. or protect your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like the help of an attorney. at legalzoom a legal plan attorney is available in most states with every personalized document to answer questions. get started at legalzoom.com today. and now you're protected. president obama drew a line in the sand this week when he unveiled his policies to take on gun violence. the most ambitious of the plans, reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban is going to require congressional support if it is to be a reality, but given the resistance that he faced with the republicans in the fiscal cliff showdown, nobody is expecting that support the come easily, and only so far
some of the most vocal resistance is not coming from the republicans in the house, but it is coming from the number one democrat in the senate. maybe he just needs a little encourage, so in this week's open letter, i want to give it to him. senator harry reid, it is me, melissa, and i'd like to draw t attention to your one word in the senate title that seems you have forgotten, you are the senate majority leader and the operative word leader. that title represents a vote of confidence in your ability to forge a path on legislation that is right for the country even when and especially when what is right is not necessarily what is easy. yet, there you were the week before the president released the proposals to address gun violence throwing in the towel before the fight had begun. >> is it something that can pass the senate? maybe. is it something that can pass the house? i doubt it. i don't think that we need to pinpoint any one thing now, and we have to be very cool and cautio cautious. >> yes, senator, we must be
thoughtful and deliberate in our policy response to the tragedy in newtown. but we must also be bold to take action when the time is right, and that time is now, right now, the people are ready for change. 58% of adults and 59% of registered voters now support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, and at what other time will the confluence of public passion and public will give us the opportunity to make meaningful change on the issue of gun violence? it is up to you, the leader of the leaders to seize the moment and make it happen. in other words, senator, with all due respect, it is time to grow a pair. a pair of ovary, because maybe you can woman up and be like your colleague diane finestein, because like you, she sees the challenges ahead, and she has the courage of her convictions an instead of retreating, she is charging ahead to introduce legislation to reinstate the
assault weapons ban, because she knows what you have forgotten, that quote, you have to try, and you can't sit back and let the gun organizations call public policy. even when those gun organizations are your friends, and that is right, senator, we saw you in 2010, buddying up to the nra leader wayne la pierre opening up a gun park in nevada and we saw you fire a few shots to open up the occasion, and you have been so supportive of them, they have awarded you a b-grade on the supportive report card and la pierre championed you as a supporter of the second amendment, and we get it. but right now your country needs you to be a champion of the cause, and because right now at this moment, we want history to record that harry reid took a
stand when the people were willing and ready to follow, harry reid led. sincerely, melissa. i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. sven gets great rewards for his small business! how does this thing work? oh, i like it! [ garth ] sven's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! woo-hoo!!! so that's ten security gators, right? put them on my spark card! why settle for less? testing hot tar... great businesses deserve great rewards! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? here's your invoice. diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes!
while president obama is gearing up for his second term and the next round in the fiscal fig fight, there is one thing that both he and congress must keep in mind, come pprehensive econo policy cannot solely focus on the upper and middle-class, but it must include the least among us, and those who cannot fend for themselves, children. a new campaign by the children's defense fund said be careful what you cut is a call to action to remember the nation's children when making decisions about the economy and why is it important? because the latest studies show that 16 million or 22% of children are living in poverty and the number of children in extreme poverty is 7.3 million or 9.8%.
in general, children are the poorest age group, and the yo g younger they are, the poorer they are. the numbers tell the tale, and if washington refuses to include poor children in the economic equation and the number of children in poverty, then it will surely increase. joining me to increase this report is marian edelman wright president of the children's defense fund. here we are, once again going to have a con e versation about the budget, and what do the congress and the president need to keep in mind as they go forward? >> they have to invest in children out of self-interest, national security and out of plain old decency and it is disgraceful that we let children be the poorest group of americans and we know how important early brain development is, and we have to close the gap between what we need and what we do. listen, if the foundation of your house is crumbling, you don't say that you can't afford to fix it, and so we have laid out and have in a proactive
inv investment agenda to make sure that every child has health care and go out the take advantage of the new affordable care act which is a major impetus to get children on a safe start, so then we can issue with the gun safety issue. we have been issuing the reports for 20 years of gun violence and children. there has been some progress, but now it is reversing, and we learn learned about it first in the black community who said that the top issue when we did polls and surveys, it is that our children won't live to adulthood so we started a campaign where it was 16 children a day dying and now 7 or 8, but progress, but it is obscene to have 300 million guns and here we are about to celebrate the nonviolence profits birthday and we should remember that since 1968 when dr. king was assassinated and robert kennedy was assassinated, we have lost
1,300,000 americans to gun violence where they have either killed themselves for killed other people. what is this obsession and this romance and cultural addiction to guns and to violence? just look at that, this is more american gun deaths of our killing ourselves and other people than all of the battle deaths in every war we have been in since the revolutionary war, and we must confront it. it is -- and our poor children are the ones who are the most affected, because they are t terrified trying to go to and from school and now it has happened to all of us. >> and it feels like this point, and it feels like we know that there are solution, and when i haer you talk, part of me feels like, oh, this is so huge, and yet, when we look at the poverty rates by age, right, and we look at sort of the elderly are much less poor now than they once were and they are much less poor now, because we actively intervened and you can look at the poverty rates across time by
age and you can see when we introduced medicare and social security and creating a social sa safety net for the elderly, the poverty rate of the eld i will dropped and stayed down, but for young people, and particularly for the children, it has begun to tick back up. how do we take the lesson that we know from that and create the social safety net? >> well, it is not an issue of not knowing what to do. with e know what to do. we have to deal with the jobs and the low-entry wages, and expand the earned tax credit and child tax credit and work incentive will make a difference to many. don't cut early education, but make sure you are breaking through the things that cause dependency, and working hard to say, every child is ready for school and every child has high quality pre-k and kindergarten and if you did that, you could also create new job, but here, we have new race to the top
requirement requirements. and poor standards, but we don't have pre-k or kindergarten in 40 states to help children meet those standards. >> i want to underline the parental jobs and wages, but a report says that in no i state can -- no state can an individual working full-time at the minimum wage afford the fair market rent for a two-h bedroom apartment for his or her family. we have created a minimum wage where you cannot have an apartment. >> and you know homelessness is rampant just as hunger is rampant and if it weren't for the safety net, it would be worse. children were the poorest americans before the recession, but since the recession, it has been a disaster. >> and stay with us, because we will talk about whether or not it makes a difference on the kinds of questions when in fact we have women who are making the policy. also, we will talk about the 40
years after roe v. wade and why so many don't have any idea about the landmark decision. there is more nerdland coming right after this from washington, d.c. oub [ male announcer ] house rule number 46. what's good for the pot... is even better for the cup. new single serve cafe collections from maxwell house. now available for use in the keurig k-cup brewer. always good to the last drop.
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five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. welcome back. i 'm melissa harris-perry in washington, d.c. we are coming to you live from the nation's capitol this weekend as preparations are under way for the second inauguration of president obama. of course, beyond the president's second inauguration everybody is talking about the second term and the issues that president obama will tackle in the next four years. which brings me to thele flowing question, are there any such things as women e's issues? you see traditionally women's issues were defined as policies that emerged from the women's domestic roles as wife and for example in a a bygone era, many
thought that they were engaged in not global monetary policies, but then a wholeera of women were engaged with equal rights and reproduction rights, but women are not a class, but they are definitely partisan definition as demonstrate ed d the last election, and we may not have women issues, but we expect the women officeholders to shoulder the responsibility for these issues, whatever they are, get addressed and with the record number of women serving in congress, will will it change the way that congress works on issues or the issues it works on? jo joining me is amy awe cook author of the "cook report," and
cath lynn srirock president of emily's list. and you work to get more women elected. is that because you believe that women govern differently? >> yes, we sure do. and emily's list really believes that we will get to the right policies in this country when we have an equal number of women and men sitting at the table, and this past election though, we really feel was a mandate for women's leadership. we saw historic numbers of women elected to congress. we have a long ways to go, and we are far from done, but we also saw in some of the research that when we explained to independent women voters in particular that there was a historic number of women, they believe it is going to make a difference and the truth is that it will. >> stephanie, it feels to me that part of what emily's list made a decision to do was to say, yes, we support women, but we support women and one of the
key issues is reproductive rights. congresswoman, is that the, the sort of breaking point with women, or are women able to work together in the house of representatives in the senate regardless of the pro choice/pro life divide? >> well, it is an important divide, but i believe that women work across the board on issues, and women work differently, and i do think that it is going to make a big difference this time to have so many women there, so that the pro choice issue is absolutely critical, but there are many other issues that we know impact women. >> and i'm wondering, ms. edelman, if one of the things and as i said not one set of women's issue, but if childhood poverty becomes one of the spaces that the democratic and the republican women have a vision to implement some of the policies that the children's defense fund is thinking about, i love these really provocative ads about the impact of childhood por verty and the ide that children who start out poor
end up with a greater likelihood of being imprisoned and much greater likelihood of being homeless and much greater likelihood of being pregnant adds teens, and so you put the faces on the social conditions. is this how the women leng slay or the or thes in part see the world that it is their children who might end up in these spaces? >> yes, i believe they have to raise a raucous to make sure that every child has a level playing field and every child is safe. the women have to take care of the children primarily and we are getting better, but child care and a range of work s supports are crucial. women, as we know, 6% of them are single parents a and they can't always, you know, in the black community make the ends meet, and the wages have to be -- and we have to deal with wages and deal with jobs and work supports and deal with safety. i love a comment from a mother the other day who said that mothers have to become single-issue voters on gun violence, whoever we care, because the nra is a single
issue lobbyist and we have to keep the children safe. because women still are the primary caregivers in some way, despite the progress we have made, we have to have an agenda that supports the families and the children and it is economic, social, cultural, but it is also now before us, i think that women are the key to the gun violence change. >> this is fascinating, because what i just did is what i said that we shouldn't do which is to essentialize women, and women are moms and care about kids, but yet, there is a way in which we see women legislators in fact in states and in the national government introducing legislation that is quite different than the male counterparts in the same party. >> i sat in many focus groups in the 2012 elections and a lot of them were the swing women voters because they would determine the election, but what is fascinating is when you brought up a topic, many of them put it through the lenses of the kids, so, yes, you can talk about the
economy and talk about whether in this case, they were really concerned about bullying in schools, and they were really concerned and what it meant for them to have a job or not have a job and how they were going to balance getting their kids to and from day care. what did it mean for them that their parent lost the job and she was the person who helped them to meet ends to meet. that is the lenses through which they saw the world so reaching women is through that lenses is important, but the other thing and this is what is fascinating -- >> and you don't want to do ann romney like, "i love you women." and that felt like whoa! >> yes, right. >> but the other thing is that we have to recognize, too, and this is what is interesting about the new class that came in is that we have to get women who are from different age groups, and different, come from different backgrounds and at the same time they are going into a system that is still not only still dominated of course by men at the top who are the committee
chairman, et cetera, but it is a system that is created by men. >> old boy's club. >> yes sh, and so you have to s of get in there and the question, and this is really the question for you which is do you then say, we will change this culture or we are going to be just like them in order to fit into that culture? >> oh, no, no. absolutely never. i think that women lead different and women govern different and women behave different. >> and you don't think so -- >> well, i'm not sure, but let me give you some ideas women are more collaborate and men are more competitive. a new women comes into congress and women will go out of the way to help her, but the men are not necessarily mean to each other, but they are more individual-focus and we are more collective focused. >> and i would say, there does seem to be so much competition amongst the men. i look at the united states' senate and here we have 20 women in the united states senate for
the first time in history though, and i have to remind everybody, there are 100 members of the senate and 80 men, but still, to look at patty murray who is chairing budget, and dia diane feinstein, and it is so long to keep the pipeline, because the system is set up by seniority. >> and the other critical pipeline is at the state level, so when you look at the governors and i love the story of the images of the 113th congress, but then when i think of jan brewer and nikki haley i become a little less convinced or susana martinez, that women are governing differently, because it is partisanship than gender. >> well, it is a difference, but look at the house. we have nancy pelosi as the leader, and although, boehner is the republican speaker, but all of us view nancy pelosi as the democratic speaker and look at
the leader show has been. she is very strong, and very forceful, but she is still a le leader that brings everybody together. and boehner career clearly -- boehner clearly has been unable to do that. but ideology is different so you cannot just describe the women to behave in that way, so it is gender, but also ideology. >> and with the cross cut, mrs. edelman, what is the thing that you would ask the 113th congress to do relative to the policy immediately on children's poverty issues? >> we have to have a jobs program and we have to have the strong early childhood system that includes comprehensive child care to help people work and not sacrifice their children and we have to begin to break in and prevent and intervene early and karen has gotten something through to help foster care children, but we have to have a get a first rate quality system to foster children, and break
this cycle of dependency. >> and maybe it is the inauguration era, but i am feeling that the 113th congress is going to feel different and actually do something that the 112th can't, and i am going to speak that to the world that it is the o be the truth. okay. don't go away here in nerdland, because we are still talking about women taking charge in washington and how they will shape the political process when we get back. ♪ begin a new day ♪ everybody ready yeah djibout. the battle of bataan, 1942. [ all ] fort benning, georgia, in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote.
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the political editor for the washington post and as we try to figure out the difference that women make, you have been covering washington for a long time, and it is different when women's voices are a part of the story? >> it is certainly different and we saw it from the 2012 campaign as the focus on women and the influx of 20 women in the senate. there had been when clinton ran, and she gave the famous speech about 18 cracks in the glass ceiling and now a lot of talk about whether she runs and what sort of women are in the pipeline for 2016 and all sorts of choices, so it will change the dynamic of conversation and one of the ways and one of the ways is this gun control debate and how it is framed around women, around schools and you saw for instance, some of the gun rights lobby talk about women needing guns to protect themselves, so i think that this is going to be an issue and look at at the key senators like kay hagan, mary landrieu, and folks who are up for re-election as
the debate goes on. >> so whether or not a republican brings something unique, should we be critical of the president's current cabinet choices for the second term? and the thing is that i get that i would most of the time as a matter opolicy even before a democratic or republican man or woman over a variety of policy, but we can't say simultaneously it makes a difference of having a lot of women in the room, but it makes no difference to have women in the cabinet. >> i think it does make a difference and women are right to criticize when the photo came out in "the new york times" all of the men that you saw valerie jarrett's leg, but in some ways, that -- >> why do i have not have any problem of valerie jarrett having her voice used when she want t wants to. >> but she is a player at the white house, but at the top levels of the cabinet in the inner circle, it is a primarily male. >> i want to nuance this a
little bit, because this is also the first president in the history of our nation to put two women on the united states supreme court. he had secretary hillary clinton and he wanted susan rice, and it was not for lack of trying and the republicans made sure it did not happen, and he is maintaining, you know, kathleen sebelius who is one of the great governor and now a great secretary and janet napolitano, and talk tact gulking about the secretaries, but they were great governors, too. >> and they are good women. >> but to me, that is the bigger question, and for a lot of the democrats the concern should not be the cabinet in 2013, but the pipeline of 2016 of women. and senate is great and congress is great, and no offense, but people don't like congress so much these days, and i don't know if you know that. so the place for presidents is
governorships, and women are winning on this front in not just women, but ethnic diversity and when you have one democratic governor, and that is the place if people are looking to the pipeline, that is where it is coming from. >> and it is all so important and the cabinet is going to be very important to see what happens moving forward in terms of the president's selections, but i do think that if we look back at what his first term was, i think that the staff was roughly 50-50 and women were paid equally if not more, so he has a good track record and i will certainly be looking forward to who he appoints. i do have, you know, a lot of confidence that it is doing be much more diversity, and whoever published that picture, that was a mess. >> and the situation. >> it was not photo shopped. >> and the democratser with open to it in part, because we have been harping on the picture of the image of the all-male congressional committee nas have be -- committees that have been
talking about birth control, and optics are on the table, and i don't want to miss the point of the veem court, because what a president does relative to the supreme court is the most important thing, because it outlasts the president. and they are there way longer than the president, two women, but a lot of federal positions on the bench that are left and not filled in part because of congressional inaction at the senate level. >> so that calls for advocacy on our part, number one, to find out which women are potentially waiting to be appointed and two, to advocate that they get the appoints and that that senate does not block. >> but back to the last election, it was a mandate for women's leadership nu, and now t we have 20 women, and 16 of them democrats, and now that we have a slightly larger majority, it is a mile long the list of appoi appointments that the republicans have absolutely blocked for judgeships and beyond. i mean, government appointments,
and i was in the united states senate as a chief of staff when president obama first came in, and it took us over a year to get u.s. attorneys and u.s. marshals through. this system has to change. the president should be allowed the make these appointments, and the senate, yes, of course, they should look it, but they need to move it quickly, and we need these, and there is diversity in the judges and women in the judge, and our system needs these judges in place. >> yes. this is so important to just point out that as much as we can have a critique of the moment, we have to recognize that the president has been ham strung over and over again be by the senate. and of course, we won't level a critique at the government that we don't level at ourselves, so when we come back, we want to ask about the women in media, and the women covering washington, an an inside look at who has the power. our cabinet picture is pretty darn male, too, when we come back. ♪ got to keep moving on
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and now you're protected. when her husband franklin delano roosevelt was president, eleanor roosevelt was the first, first lady to hold her own press conference and these press conferences came with a catch, for women reporters only. women were typically barred from the presidential press conferences, and so mrs. roosevelt only allowed women to attend hers. nearly 70 years after fdr, and we see a lot of women covering the white house, but among the five major networks, four still employ men as the chief white house correspondent. so folks who sit on the front row in the white house briefing room are still mostly fellows including our own chuck todd. and jessica yellin and brianna keel er are from cnn and joining them on the front row is julia
pace. i want to come back to the white house to talk about this question, because if women in the room matter and we are all critiquing the president's picture, the fact is that the room is full of a lot of guys, too. >> we were on the campaign trail together, nia, and i and there were a lot of women in the campaign bus, and it was not boys on the bus anymore. this is a thrill to the question, because there were a lot of young women that were campaign embeds for the networks and carrying the cameras and getting the shots and usually very young and working harder than anyone else. almost, and i would say a majority of them are women, right? but what i worry about is that they are not going to make it up through, and that is what we have to test or check in the next ten years, did they make it up to the highest ranks? because that is where you did the duty there, and you got the payoff then into big jobs, and i want to make sure that they do get there, but what i fear is that what made them so good in
those jobs which is everything that we are talking about, their collegial and working tot a ing and not thinking about themselves, and the next step up the ladder, but they are thinking to do that job, you have to be very community organize and you are worried about your correspondent, and the people higher up, and you are not necessarily thinking about your own political future and your own job future, so what i worry is that they do very well in those jobs burk nen the boys who are thinking about the next step over them. >> yes shgs s, it is the nice g finish last, and getting through the door may take more to get up the ladder. >> yes, they need shoulders, because the women on the plane were mainly big boys coming in to get the stories, but it is up to the stories and the outlets to identify young folks and women who are in the pipeline and to give them some support and mentoring. you don't often see that --
well, you don't see it at all in washington, and i will say even for myself, and i think that it is particularly glaring that there are not a lot of african-american women doing this at all. i sometimes -- >> and diversity. >> yes, right. >> i sometimes count myself, and it is maybe tep or -- ten or so after can american women and i don't know if i have gotten to ten on the list. and it is gwen ifill and so few. >> well, i want to see women everywhere and i want to put it on us. i want to put it on us, because those of us who have been successful and gotten through the ranks and are now in positions to help, we need to help young women. we can't just say, it is up for you to find your way through. there is a network of about 250 years in this country of men
working together. they know each other, and they are friends and they think about it first. our network may be 30, 40, and maybe, 40 years old, and we have to use it better, and when i look at what we have done at emily's list and one of the reasons that we have this great cycle is that for 28 years emily's list has been building this network on the elected officials side and making sure that there is women running for the legislature. so when those house seats open up, and someone who is great in the california assembly can run for that congress seat, and then ultt maly for senate, and for govern governor, it is about this pipeline, but we have to keep working on it everyday. >> and it is a good point. emily is not someone's name. emily is an acronym that means early money is like yeast. >> yes. >> and yeast, of course, is about the little pellets that you plant early that turn into something. thank you sh, stephanie, for
joining us. and now everybody else is going to stay with me for a little bit longer, because i will count our network at 40 years. why? because we are right now at 40 years after "roe v. wade" and yet when we ask young people about it, it turns out a majority of them don't even know what the landmark case is about. i'm serious. when we come back. [ roasting firewood ] ♪ many hot dogs are within you. try pepto-bismol to-go, it's the power of pepto, but it fits in your pocket. now tell the world daniel... of pepto-bismol to-go. that make kids happy. and even fewer that make moms happy too. with wholesome noodles and bite sized chicken, nothing brings you together like chicken noodle soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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what's good for the pot... is even better for the cup. new single serve cafe collections from maxwell house. now available for use in the keurig k-cup brewer. always good to the last drop. many of the women who will celebrate president obama's second inauguration this monday will also be celebrating on tuesday, the day marking the 40th anniversary of "roe v. wade" but it turns out that most young people will not be celebrating, but not necessarily because they oppose reproductive rights, but it is because they don't know what the 1973 landmark supreme court decision
did. a new pugh research center poll shows that 44% of the age group born after roe, 18-29-year-olds know what roe was about and that it was about abortion. how do we protect the privacies for future generations if the future generations don't know why they have them. joining me now is the president of planned parenthood cecil richards. i want the show you the chart that takes all of our breath away over and over again, and '73, you have the roe and then in the beginning of '85 and continuing forward, you have all of the states that are chipping away at it, and then the enormous spike in 2010-2011 of just coming for the rights that were initially secured by "roe v. wade" and what does that tell you?
>> it tells you that in the 2010 elections that the tea party dominated those elections, and in fact, you look at the pugh research poll that came out this week, americans consistently and have for decades supported women's access to save and legal abortion and whether they call it roe or know the faname or no and that the united states representatives and sorry congresswoman, because i know you are doing everything that you can, but they are out of step with where the american people are, women and men. >> you say that the tea party came in 2010, but they did not come in on a pro life agenda and part of that is stunning is that they said we are here about the clean government and here about taxes and here about spending and the right to privacy, not so much. >> and from the party who does not want the government and get them out of the lives, but except, we will tell the doctor what to do in an exam room is -- >> and get it out of the lives and put it on the end of a transvaginal probe because it is a nice small government to fit right there.
>> but some of my colleagues need biology lesson, because those who believe there are magical powers. i remember when i first got there that we had a whole week to have hearings to talk about and contemplate rape and what is it, and should we redefine it? and when todd akin did that in his race, he was a scapegoat, because they had been all talking about it. >> and yes, in the november elections, there were resoundingly candidates who opposed roe and planned parenthood and planned birth control were defeated and not only todd akin, but mitt romney ran on a platform to overturn roe and get rid of planned parenthood and beaten by the biggest gender gap in history ever recorded. >> and yet, if you look at overturning roe and people push back gaiagainst that, in a curr piece of the nation, and in the nation magazine and by the
editors, where are we 40 years after roe? what they find is that 87% of u.s. counties lack an abortion provider and that several states have only a clinic or two staffed by a doctor who flies in from another state. so it is legal, but you can't access it. >> i think that is a real problem. i think that on the national level sort of the national politicians have won the race. if you look at 2012, but on the state level, there is a consistent erosion in terms of access to abortion in terms of abortion rights and i think that young people if polls are to be believed and they voted for democrats and believe that abortion should be legal, feminist groups and pro abortion groups have to find a way to educate the folks and engage them to be on the grass root levels to enforce it. >> in that vein, what we saw in
pl planned parenthood over the last two years when we had unrelentings a sauls at the state and the federal level and not just safe and legal abortions bs abortions, but the ability to access birth control, an explosion of young people joining planned parenthood as activists and donors and supporters so i feel like that in many ways they may not know what roe means, but they will say, we will take away rights that you have, so i actually believe that it is the long haul, it has backfired the attacks, because it has woken up a whole new generation of young women and men. >> but don't we need to push harder given the erosions. i'm a supporter of planned parenthood as you know, and of reproductive rights, but i also know that the part of what public parenthood has done in the public discourse is saying that we do cancer screening and wellness and as important as is that is to demonstrate the broad set of projects that are part of planned parenthood, it moves
away from staking ground of part of what we do is to provide abortions and abortions are medically protected procedures between a doctor and a woman, and that is what we provide. you look at the chicago abortion fund and others who say that and hey, if you cannot afford it -- so i wonder if we have to push even harder rather than accommodating the idea that abortion is something that we should be ashamed of. >> well, we are definitely not ashamed of it and it is important for women to have access to full reproductive care and there is not a bigger advocacy group in america, and unfortunately not only fighting with congress over access, but state legislatures in 50 states, but what is important that people understand and this is what is reflected over and over again is that people believe strongly in this country that the right to make a decision about a pregnancy, whatever that decision should be, should be left to a woman and not
politician, and this is consistent and again, it goes to the point, congresswoman, why do we have this move to now we have reject rejected government restrictions in every other part of our lives and yet we have politicians who are literally getting in between the doctor/patient relationship in the country. >> and it is interesting, too, because when the debates happened on the floor, you will find the men passionately arguing this, and the republican women and not until the press started to notice that you saw the republican women really get up to make a stand. when i was in the state legislature, my female republican colleagues used to sit there and somewhat hang their heads while the men just railed on and on and on passionately about a woman's not having the right to choose. >> because they don't have to face it, because was the complicated difficult, emotional, medical choices are in fact embedded in women's bodies, and tlf it ought to be our voices. more on this, because i want to talk a little bit more next time
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aches, fevers. and i relieve nasal congestion. overachiever. [ female announcer ] tylenol® cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion. nyquil® cold and flu doesn't. well, it means that january 22nd, 1973, will stand out as one of the great days for freedom and free choice. this allows a woman free choice as to whether or not to remain pregnant. this is extraordinary. >> from the beginning prohibition abortionists have seen this as a question of the freedom of an individual's choice and the freedom to have an abortion is now legal in every state, and the basic legal fight is now over. >> we know that the fight legal and otherwise was not over on january 22nd, 1973, but nearly 40 years to the day after "roe v. wade's" supreme court
decision, where is the fight for repro d reproductive rights headed? i really do want to talk about all of the things that the uterus does because i want to stand up to talk about the termination, but i also want to talk about the big tent pitched and when people wanted ivf and all of the other reproductive rights under the big tent. if you want itf, then you need to stand on the side of "roe v. wade." >> one of the underreported stories is mississippi, very con ser vative state by any measure, and the proposal was a constitutional amendment prop e proposed before the legislature of a personhood amendment, and
this would go to potentially affect birth control, and ivf, and in fact, the mississippi vo voters defeated it overwhelmingly by 16 points, because again, it focussed on the question, well, who is really the best person to make the decision about pregnancy at whatever stage? a woman or is it a politician? >> and the pugh poll that you pointed to, also, and you guys have been talking about this at planned parenthood is the issue of morality and whether this is a moral choice or not to have an abortion, and you know, it is obviously still for even for people who support "e"roe v. wa" conflicted. so that debate is to allow the conflict to stay there and we understand that for so many people, it is going to be at the core. >> i want to take that seriously, and as a person who has done almost everything with the uterus that one can do,
right, so i have a child, and i have had an abortion and at a certain point i became so ill i had a hysterectomy and so i have made so many choices to use and dispose of my ultimately uterus and none of the choices are easy and you are asking yourself about the future and where you are now and there are all kinds of moral and ethical and prayerful decisions that become a part of all of that, but the idea that a state or a federal legislature would have at any point had the right to intervene on that or on the same decisions that my daughter may someday need to make. >> and before i was involved in politics, i worked as a health care provider as a p.a. in the emergency room and went through school, and the idea that politicians would tell me what i was supposed to do in the exam room is really scandalous. i think that one problem that we have is that we at different points in time have conciliated the moral side of it, because we should have the moral side when it comes to choice, but also the
same people who fight for forced pregnancy as you call it, once the child is born, they don't want to give the child food if the mother needs it, because she is a child or whatever. i think that the moral highground that we have the take back. >> i would like to pick up, too, and i couldn't agree more, but i want to pick up, too, on what amy said, because this is something that where i believe that the issue of abortion is one that is deeply personal and that people have complex feelings about and very personal feelings about, and this is where i, you know, we saw nit south dakota, again, a very c conservative state that would not be progressive in a lot of issues, but the voters two times overwhelmingly voted against making abortion illegal in south dakota, because many of the v e voters were able to hold the two thoughts at the same time which is both the personal feeling that it might not be the decision they would make, but they could not walk in another woman's shoes and make that
decision for every woman. that is where the american people are. again, i think that you referred to this earlier, melissa, this is the thing that the inconsistency here is that we know actually how to prevent unintended pregnancy, and this is not brain surgery. it is making sure that folks have sex education as young people and making sure they have access to birth control and right now we were part of a study where we demonstrated a medical study over seven years, five years if you provided women access to birth control at no cost, in fact, we could reduce unintended pregnancy and teen pregnancy and abortion. >> well, the point is so important that they both don't want to provide access to the preventive measures on the front end or the social justice or the safety measures of the children born on the other end and that is part of the comprehensive ethical and moral question. thank you to the panel.
all across the country, we are seeing foot soldiers in action today. volunteers and organizations taking part in a national day of service. president obama's call for americans to honor the legacy of dr. martin luther king, jr., by volunteering in their own communities. right now, nearly 100 nonprofit organizations are holding a service fair on the national mall. one of them is points of light, an organization that aims to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. with me today is deloris morton, she is part of the points of light program -- in fact, she is president of the points of light programs division.
thank you for being here. >> thank you for having us. >> and you're a louisianan. >> i am. bayou girl. >> which i love. tell me a little bit about the fundamental philosophy that is points of light. >> points of light is the world's largest organization that's dedicated to volunteer service. all over the country today and throughout the year, we engage millions of people in volunteer service with an opportunity to first experience service, knowing that it can be transformational. it's not just about what you give to somebody else but what you get yourself. >> let's talking about the transformational part. sometimes when we talk about volunteerism or service, people think it is just something the privileged get to do. rich and powerful who come down to people who don't have much. but a lot of times, it's people from those communities who know what the service is needed. how do you get out the message that everyone should serve?
>> i think we do it by giving examples of service and celebrating service leaders. today there are 600 kids that are volunteering at a project in new york city, helping to change their own school. so it's not kids from another school district, from an affluent school district going to help kids in an underprivileged public school. but it's those kids from that same public school who are refurbishing their building. it's providing those kinds of examples and small opportunities for people to serve. there's a good way to use all of your assets, your whole body, you can use your time, talent, voice. when i was in makeup, we were talking about a call for makeup artists to do makeovers for some of the soldiers who are going to be going to balls this weekend. that's just an everyday talent, something everyone has to give. a makeup artist might not think, i have a specific skill to give away. but it's a different way to serve. there are so many ways we can do something to help someone else. >> the thing about points of
light is they are often bipartisan, nonpartisan, it is in part the moment when our identity as americans or identity as fellow humans becomes more important than our political identity. that feels like part of what's important here. an inauguration can be a very political event and this is a way of saying, no, the bush family which is deeply involved with points of light and the obama family which is calling for this in this moment, both with the same mission. >> absolutely. no matter how different we are, service is something that we all believe in. i think that americans are really at their best, we are at our best when we're doing for someone else. we tend to wait, i think the challenge is we often wait until a hurricane sandy, a hurricane katrina happens or there's a fire or a shooting. so we tend to wait and act when there's an emotional call. but instead we should be serving every day. there are needs every day. there are people, soldiers who are having trouble re-acclimating.
there are kids who aren't getting the kind of educational resources they need. so there are service opportunities that exist every day. there's not a need to wait until there's something that happens that calls us to do it. >> and it's part of the reminder that we see so much bad news on the news, that it's part of why the foot soldiers segment means so much to us, it reminds us of the good. if there's one thing americans are thinking, i didn't sign up for today but they can take action next week or in the next week, what is that one thing? >> pointsoflight.org, not to do an organizational plug, but we have a great repository of 250-plus organizations across the country in almost every community who are looking for volunteers. and if you can't find one, you can do a zip code search there and find a volunteer opportunity. but there's also a great opportunity for you to look inside your own neighborhood. my husband tutors kids at our church. he said, we need more math
tutors. you see a need, do something instead of waiting for someone else to call you to act and to do something. help someone across the street. don't ignore the person who's standing asking for something at the red light. so just treat people like people. that's a way everybody can give. >> dolores, thank you so much. martin luther king, jr., said everyone can be great because everyone can serve. if you missed your chance to volunteer today, that's okay. there are more opportunities on monday, which is the annual martin luther king day of service. if you've been inspired by the foot soldiers we've been bringing you, this is your chance to get involved and do some foot soldiering on your on. that is our show for today. tomorrow, we're right back here in washington, d.c. asking about the great expectations for president obama's second term. what is he going to deliver this time around? that's tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. eastern. right now, "weekends with alex witt."